Qualia – Drake Hotel

at the Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St West, Toronto.

Reception: Monday Feb 27th 6-8pm (RSVP)
Talk: Monday March 27th 6:30-8pm
Exhibition Dates: Feb 8- April 17, 2017


Tessar Lo, ‘how to sirsasana,’, mixed media on canvas, 60″x72″


“To perceive, a beholder must create his own experience. And his creation must include relations comparable to those which the original producer underwent. Without an act of recreation the object is not perceived as a work of art… There is work done on the part of the percipient as there is on the part of the artist. The one who is too lazy, idle, or indurated in convention to perform this work will not see or hear. His ‘appreciation’ will be a mixture of scraps of learning with conformity to norms of conventional admiration and with a confused, even if genuine, emotional excitation.”
– John Dewey, Art as Experience, 1934

‘Qualia’ considers the internal and subjective components of perception. With a collection of bold and dynamic artworks, the exhibition asks the viewer to participate in the work of art by paying attention to their own aesthetic experience as they view the artworks. To really see, feel, and internalize in an artwork can be a deeply liberating and transformative experience that transcends the body, time, language, and location.

The front window display is lit by the ‘Hourglass’ work of Camille Jodoin-Eng. Created by hand, this work challenges conventional notions of space and time by creating the illusion of ever-expanding space in a confined form.

A combination of gold-leaf canvases and a site-specific mural by Ness Lee greets visitors on the lobby chalkboard. Exuding feelings of love, empowerment, and connection, Lee’s installation reflects an intimate and personal narrative that conveys both a bold and gentle nature.

At the rear of the lobby is a large painting by Tessar Lo entitled ‘how to sirsasana,’. The work depicting the Sirsasana yoga posture in Lo’s unique and playful aesthetic style is a reminder of generational wisdom, balance and the importance of attitude.

A piece from the curator’s private collection by abstract painter  Callen Schaub is on display at the top of the lobby staircase. Created on the artist’s signature ‘spin machine’ this work was made in a series that explored the impact of controlled variations in process. In this way, the piece is a testament to the relationship between simplicity, complexity and moments of illumination.

A pair of photographs by Sebastián Benítez, also from private collection, hangs in the café. These minimal still-life photos carry potent symbols of optimism and self-defeating systems, visualizing the forces of duality at play on a regular basis.

Artworks courtesy of the artists and Art Works Consulting